Moody, Nolen and Rothera combine to win the Eclipse Stakes.
Racing’s most formidable combination, Peter Moody and Luke Nolen have experienced a lean Spring Racing Carnival but made up for that today when Rothera ($21) won the Group 3 Betfair Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Betfair Park.
The future of the former Queenslander was under question by Moody pre-race who said had a float booked to send Rothera back home on Monday but a beautifully judged ride by Nolen may have been enough to extend his stay at Moody’s Caulfield base.
“I might have to speak to the owners and reconsider because I didn’t think he was doing enough,” Moody said.
Moody’s question mark over Rothera wasn’t shared by others in the camp.
“It was the best he presented today and both Luke and the owner have been wanting to get him out to this trip.”
Rothera travelled three deep during the run and settled mid field until the pace slackened and Nolen allowed him to stride up and be ready to pounce once the field turned for home.
“We always travelled well even though we covered a little bit of ground, we always travelled well.
“He’s been working super at home and Pete pulled the blinkers off him. Just old horses with old legs and we just treated them and he felt terrific today,” Nolen said.
Rothera has won 11 career races and today’s win was his first at a distance beyond 1600 metres and his first for the reigning premiership winning trainer and the jockey is confident he may have turned the corner.
“That won’t be his last win with us,” Nolen said.
Nolen said that the Rothera appreciated the give in the ground today which contributed to the improved performance.
Rothera won by a 1 ¼ lengths and staved off late challenges from Folding Gear ($9.50) and Ulundi ($16) who both came from worse than midfield to claim the minor placings.
The pre-race favourite, Erewhon ($4.80) was never a chance in the race and produced nothing in the straight to finish last.
Erewhon’s rider, Kerrin McEvoy reported to stewards that he was not suited by the slow pace.